The Queensland government must continue its commitment to green schools, hospitals and offices, a key green building industry body says.
Robin Mellon, executive director of advocacy for the Green Building Council of Australia, says the new Queensland government must build on previous state efforts to ensure high environmental standards in public sector buildings and commit to achieving Green Star ratings for new government projects earmarked in last Tuesday’s budget.
“The Queensland Government has been a long-time supporter of a more efficient, productive and sustainable built environment and has achieved Green Star ratings for a range of projects, including schools, hospitals and offices,” Mellon says. “We applaud this commitment, and call on the Newman Government to commit to Green Star ratings for all the new healthcare and education projects earmarked for funding in the budget, as well as for all new government office projects.”
Last Tuesday’s budget included $1.3 billion to build, expand and redevelop hospitals across Queensland, including $51.6 million to improve and upgrade health facilities in regional and remote areas.
By mandating Green Star standards for all of these projects, Mellon says, the government will not only boost the economy and provide new ‘green collar’ jobs, but also ‘future-proof’ the state’s health care assets by making sure they operate as efficiently as possible.
“Solid international research confirms that green hospitals improve patient recovery times, reduce staff turnover rates, and decrease operating costs. Green Star ratings for these new hospital projects will ensure the people of Queensland capture these benefits,” Mellon says.
Mellon has also called on the state to support green building in funding earmarked for school maintenance, infrastructure and planning, as well as in new government office developments.
He says greening Australia’s schools is one of the GBCA’s five ‘advocacy priorities’, adding that the state already has six Green Star-rated schools.
“The Queensland Government has indicated that the property and construction industry is one of its ‘four pillars,’” Mellon says. “Investment in the state’s sustainable built environment will deliver better economic, social and environmental outcomes including improved health, increased productivity and vastly reduced outgoings over the long-term, securing a better future for the people of Queensland.”